Statehouse roundup, 1.13.22: Academic standards, trustee recall proposals resurface

The House Education Committee Thursday formally introduced two proposals from Chairman Lance Clow: one to nullify existing English, math and science standards, and another forcing the State Board of Education to adopt rewritten versions of those standards.

The debate: Idaho has its own academic content standards — a set of expectations for skills students should develop at each grade level — but Clow, R-Twin Falls, and fellow committee Republicans take issue with Idaho standards’ similarity to national standards. In English and math, those standards are Common Core, a political lightning rod in some conservative circles.

A repeat: Clow told EdNews last week that he’s “not happy” that rewritten standards haven’t cleared the State Board. That drove him to reintroduce his proposals, which he first floated in November, when lawmakers returned to Boise for three days of sessions. Clow’s proposals never received hearings at that time.

“These two are very related,” Clow said of his proposals. Rep. Steve Berch, D-Boise, argued that they’re too related, and voted against introducing a rejection of the state’s current standards for fear that a standalone nullification would leave schools without clear standards on the books. Gooding Democrat Rep. Sally Toone joined him in dissenting.

The other proposal to force the State Board’s hand was introduced unanimously.

Next up: A public hearing, with public comment, in House Education.

Read more about the Legislature’s standards fight here.

Trustee recall bill resurfaces

Reps. Barbara Ehardt and Gayann DeMordaunt are taking another shot at a bill designed to make sure voters can replace recalled school trustees.

Their bill would require elections if a trustee is recalled, or if a trustee resigns under the threat of a recall. Voters would get to choose replacement trustees on one of four regularly scheduled election dates: in March, May, August or November. If no election falls within 90 days of the recall or resignation, trustees would be able to choose a temporary trustee.

Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, wants to prevent trustees from appointing replacement trustees after a heated recall effort.

”There is nothing like a school board election that can tear us apart, or tear our community apart,” Ehardt said Thursday.

A similar bill passed the House in April, on a 55-14 vote. It did not get a hearing in the Senate.

The Idaho School Boards Association, the organization that represents trustees at the Statehouse, took no position on the bill last year, deputy director Quinn Perry said Thursday.

The House State Affairs Committee voted unanimously to print this year’s version of the bill, which means it could come back later for a full hearing.



Kevin Richert and Blake Jones

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